Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Archimandrite Daniel Byantoro on Islam

Fr. Daniel is a dynamic, inspiring person, who, as a convert to Orthodoxy from Islam bears a rare authority. He speaks from what he knows. And he knows what Islam is from the inside.

I think it is very important for Christians to wake up and return to their roots, to be serious about their faith, and to try to share that faith with Moslems. This is the greatest defense against Islam.
- Fr Daniel Byantoro 

Here are just a few of his words and warnings (click on the links for more):

On Allowing Mosques in Free Countries (Interview in Road To Emmaus):

RTE: On a community level, there are more and more Moslem immigrants in western Europe and in America, and naturally they want to build mosques, schools, etc. In your lectures you’ve been talking about the danger of the spread of Islam. Should local Christians just say, “No, we don’t want a mosque here.”?

FR. DANIEL: I think it should be up to the discretion of the local people. Although the Moslems wanting to build the mosque may be very peace-loving people, who knows what will come out of it later?

RTE: Many Americans would say that preventing it is an infringement of their religious rights.

FR. DANIEL: That is because you have the idea of the separation of church and state, and that is alright, but in Islamic ideology the religion and state are one, and when the number of Moslems increase they may start looking for political power...

RTE: Yes, I have a friend from southern Albania near Tirana, who told me that after the fall of communism there was no disharmony between Christians and Moslems until Arab outsiders came in and began creating division.

FR. DANIEL: Yes, but I am afraid that this peaceful attitude may be something of the past. Many new Moslem immigrants in Europe and America are eager to Islamicize these countries, to spread Islam through teaching and modern communication technology, and there are many Islamic countries that support this [financially]. I think it is very important for Christians to wake up and return to their roots, to be serious about their faith, and to try to share that faith with Moslems. This is the greatest defense against Islam.  (Fr Daniel Byantoro, “The Kaaba and Jacob’s Pillow,” Road To Emmaus #11, Autumn 2002, p 59, emphasis added.)

On Martyrdom:

If there is no possible way to escape (even if we have been trying to be good and obey the laws of society), if we become known as a believer, if they stigmatize us as unbelievers as heretics or whatever, then it is obvious there is no other way – if martyrdom comes, then we have to accept it. If you cannot escape being a martyr, do it! Go for it! I teach this in church, and I say, even to myself, that there is no other way.  (Fr. Daniel Byantoro, “Orthodoxy in Indonesia,” Road To Emmaus, #6, Summer 2001.)  

From his endorsement for FACING ISLAM:

“In the midst of the 1980’s when I was recently converted to Orthodoxy and was a student at the Holy Cross Seminary, Brookline, MA, I told several friends of mine about Islam, but no one seemed to be interested. They thought it was only prob- lems somewhere else but not here on American soil. But many times I said to them that ‘Islam is coming, it will be too late if you don’t learn and do anything about it right now.’ When 9/11 happened I was doing missionary work in my country; immediately I knew that this event was of the kind that I had been telling those friends about before...

“Islam is a religio-socio-political whole where every department of life, including politics and state-law, are regulated by the dictate of religious law (the sharia). No good Muslim will be happy when they are in majority not to implement this religious law, because it is the teaching of Islam that Muslims must ‘fight them (the unbelievers) until faithlessness is no more and religion becomes (exclusively) for Allah’ (Qur’an 2:193, trans. Ali Quli Qara’i). And that Allah sent Muhammad with the religion of Islam, so that ‘He may make it prevail over all religions’ (Qur’an 48:28). Islam claims an exclusive right to exist, where it commands that its followers, ‘Fight those who do not have faith in Allah nor (believe) in the Last Day, nor forbid what Allah and His Apostle have forbidden nor practice the true religion (i.e. Islam), from among those who were given the Book (i.e. Jews and Christians) until they pay tribute out of hands (the jizya), and they be humiliated’ (Qur’an 9:29)...

"For thousands of years my country (Indonesia) was a Hindu Buddhist kingdom. The last Hindu king was kind enough to give a tax exempt property for the first Muslim missionary to live and to preach his religion. Slowly the followers of the new religion were growing, and after they became so strong the kingdom was attacked, those who refused to become Muslims had to flee for their life to the neighboring island of Bali or to a high mountain of Tengger, where they have been able to keep their religion until now. Slowly from the Hindu Buddhist Kingdom, Indonesia became the largest Islamic country in the world. If there is any lesson to be learnt by Americans at all, the history of my country is worth pondering upon. We are not hate mongering, bigoted people; rather, we are freedom loving, democracy loving and human loving people. We just don’t want this freedom and democracy to be taken away from us by our ignorance and misguided ‘political correctness’, and the pretension of tolerance.”

For more on Fr Daniel and the Indonesian Orthodox Mission, go here.